Consider some history. Late one afternoon, in the year 1905, the superintendent of the Premier Mine in South Africa was making a routine inspection 18 feet underground when his eye was caught by what he at first thought was a piece of glittering glass. But on closer inspection it turned out to be the largest rough gem-quality diamond the world had ever seen to that date! It weighed in at 3,106 carats or 11/3 lb. It was named the Cullinan Diamond after the owner of the mine, but its more familiar title became the Star of Africa.
The diamond was purchased by the Transvaal government, and since South Africa was then a part of the British Empire it was decided to present the diamond to King Edward VII.
The problem was how to get such a precious and valuable diamond to England in safety. In 1905 transport from South Africa to England could be dangerous, and delivering the diamond posed a very real security problem. There were of course no flights, and sending it by ship might very well invite attack from pirates or robbers. So a cunning plan was devised.
An exact replica of The Star of Africa was made and security men from London were dispatched to South Africa to accompany and ostentatiously guard the fake diamond on a steamboat back to England. This diversionary tactic was meant to attract the attention of anyone interested in stealing it. In reality the true Star of Africa was packed into a cardboard box and sent by parcel post to an address in London. Thankfully it arrived safely!
When King Edward saw the diamond he decided it should become part of the hereditary crown jewels, but since it was still in the rough it needed to be cut. At that time technology had not developed enough to guarantee the quality of the modern standard, so cutting diamonds was considered a difficult and risky business. Therefore, since it was such a magnificent and valuable gem only the best diamond cleavers in the world could be entrusted with the job. The Company of Abraham & Joseph Asscher from Amsterdam was chosen.
Joseph Asscher himself travelled to London, where he studied the diamond for many months before making a decision. Finally he placed a steel cleaver’s blade in a previously prepared V-shaped groove in readiness for the big day.
But Joseph Asscher was under such stress and tension from the huge responsibility that he asked for a doctor to be present when he made the vital stroke. When the day came, he did strike down with accuracy and precision, but then promptly fainted dead away!
Jewel in the Sceptre
It became the world’s largest polished gem at 530.4 carats, and was named Cullinan I or “The Great Star of Africa.” It is pear shaped and was placed in the head of the royal sceptre.
On June 2, 1953, when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at Westminster Abbey, she sat over the Stone of Scone or Stone of Destiny, believed to be Jacob’s pillar/pillow stone. Then during the ceremony the sceptre (a symbol of kingship and authority) was placed in her right hand.
Now 86 years of age and well into her long reign, Elizabeth II is a direct descendant of Tea Tephi, the young princess daughter of King Zedekiah whom Jeremiah and the scribe Baruch brought to Ireland. So God’s promise that “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah” (Genesis 49:10) still holds true to this day.
The second polished gem, split from that great rough diamond, was named Cullinan II or “The Lesser Star of Africa.” That was mounted in the front band of the Imperial State crown, which the Queen wears annually at the state opening of parliament.
These crown jewels, together with the anointing spoon and the eagle-shaped ampoule which holds the anointing oil, are all on display in the Tower of London together with many other crowns and jewels. Since they are so priceless they are undoubtedly guarded by the latest technology but also by the Yeoman Warders of the Tower (not to be confused with the Yeoman of the Guard). In their distinctive Tudor uniforms they also act as very interesting and entertaining guides to visitors at the Tower, explaining the history of the building and recounting stories and legends associated with individual jewels, like the Black Prince’s Ruby.
Most women through the ages have loved jewels, and many even today choose a diamond for an engagement ring. Within our means, enjoying the beauty of a diamond is not wrong. But we need to keep our priorities in order. So, to ask again the original question: “Are diamonds forever?”
No! Even the most beautiful and durable physical diamonds, no matter how priceless, how historic, how shimmering with their many facets and no matter how deeply buried in the earth, will all be destroyed one day, when the earth is purified before the coming of the New Jerusalem to the earth (2 Peter 3:10–12).
So, no: diamonds are not “forever.” But are there some “diamonds” that a woman can truly cherish—diamonds that will last?
A Special Treasure
God said to the children of Israel through Moses: “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people: for the earth is Mine” (Exodus 19:5).
And in Exodus 28 we read of the High Priest’s attire. Over his garments he wore a two-pieced apron called an ephod. He also wore a breastplate of judgment on which were twelve precious stones of which topaz, emerald, turquoise, sapphire and diamond were mentioned, among others. These showed how precious the twelve tribes of Israel were to God.
Sadly, the women and men of ancient Israel did not live up to expectations—they failed the high honour of being God’s precious jewels, and the history of their failure is recorded in the Old Testament. Nevertheless, in the future they will have God’s laws written in their hearts and minds and eventually become part of the great God family.
However, if we look ahead in time to when Jesus Christ came preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14). He likened that Kingdom to a great treasure hidden in a field (Matthew 13:44).
That Kingdom is of such unsurpassed value that we should treasure it above all else. That hidden knowledge and understanding which has been given to us is today hidden from the majority of the world’s population.
However, this treasure, which is the Word of God, or the mind of God in print, is useless to us if it remains between leather covers. So with the help of God’s Spirit, coupled with our diligence, it has to be dug out and transferred into our minds (Romans 12:2).
Jesus Christ counselled in Matthew 6:19–21: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
The priceless but corruptible treasures in the Tower of London have been attained and stored up over a long period of time, but we as Christian women are urged not to store up perishable treasures but imperishable ones, which will last into eternity.
So, exactly how do we go about storing up incorruptible treasure in heaven? By obedience to God’s commands, prayers for God’s Work and other people, performing good works and acts of mercy (Matthew 25:35–40), and of course by supporting God’s Work on this earth as we are able.
We should always be alert to do little kindnesses for other Church members or our neighbours. Sometimes if we do enact a kindness to someone, they may actually respond with “Thanks! You’re a real diamond!”
In God’s sight, there is no doubt that many of us women might well have been considered “rough diamonds” when He first called us. But with God’s help, and our obedience to Him, our characters gradually change and we begin to bear “fruits of the spirit” (Galatians 5:22–26); fruits being the results of the Spirit working in our lives, or true Christianity in action.
Another point to consider is that, although we bear God’s treasure “in earthen vessels” (2 Corinthians 4:7), we are in a spiritual sense like the Wardens or Gardens of the Tower of London, who guard its treasure. We, as Christian women, are guardians of the treasure of Truth. The Tower officials share the Tower’s history with visitors, and relate fascinating stories associated with individual gems. We as older Christian women have a responsibility to teach the younger women, sharing the stories of our lives and of how we have endured in the faith, and how we have played our roles in support of husband and children and other family members.
Ultimately, through the tests and trials of life, God cleaves and polishes every Christian woman, just like the Star of Africa, with the goal of our finally becoming “true diamonds” with facets gleaming and reflecting His very character.
As God says in Malachi 3:16–17: “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘on the day that I make them My jewels and I will spare them.’”
Yes, true “diamonds” will survive. Spiritual diamonds are forever!